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Gillian
by Gillian
on December 2, 2014

A lot of us have a vision of salespeople as slick, fast talking hucksters who will say anything to close a deal. But you and I know that's really not an accurate portrait anymore. A savvy salesperson is going to spend just as much time (if not more) crafting well thought out emails as they are cold calling their hottest leads.

So if you're in the business of selling to a CFO, you probably want to know how to capture their attention. You're using all your usual tactics, but he's just not responding! 

 

CFO Ignore Email

 

You know you have her email address right, but it's still radio silence! What did you say? What have you done? How can you crack the code? Keep reading for five reasons CFOs aren't responding your emails (and tips for how to change that).

 

  1. You Haven't Done Your Research
    I know what you're thinking. This isn't Sales 101. I've done my research on the company. I know my product inside and out. But have you researched the CFO specifically? Do you know the company's main financial concerns? If you start spouting off a sales pitch that doesn't account for the unique financial situation of the CFO's company, he's not going to have a good reason to respond.
  2. You Don't Address Their #1 Concern
    Doing your research can give you valuable insight into the company, but this one holds across the spectrum of CFOs: their #1 concern, priority, and lifeblood is measured in dollar signs. That means your communications with a CFO should include at least some talk of money. Use the language of money and talk about specific figures whenever you can. When you send a CFO an email with a pitch touting all the benefits of your product without ever mentioning money - like, at all - go ahead and take a lunch because you're not getting a response.
  3. You Don't Include Any Numbers
    Some salespeople can be intimidated by the idea of selling to a CFO because they themselves are not financial people (unless we're talking about the finances of commission). You don't necessarily have to send over a compendium of spreadsheets to catch a CFO's eye, but you should reference the financial reality of your product or service, including numbers. Using wishy-washy language like "a great ROI" or "valuable investment" or anything that doesn't include any actual digits is likely to send your message right into the Trash folder.

 

Trash Can saying I'm full of garbage.
...and emails.
  1. You Don't Address Any Potential Risks
    A CFO is responsible for the financial well-being of her company and while it may not be a glamorous job, she takes it seriously. That means being as risk averse as is prudent. When you email a CFO, you need to go out of your way to address any financial risks your product might pose. You don't have to come out and hand them the risks on a silver platter. Instead, thoroughly consider your proposition from the perspective of the CFO and cut off any potential objections at the pass with your own solutions.If there are apparent risks to your product that you don't address, a CFO isn't going to trouble herself with responding to your message.
  2. You Focused on CEO Goals
    CEOs want to see business growth, sometimes at all costs. CFOs want their business to grow, too, but more than that they want to save money. When you want to earn a response from a CFO, you have to be sure that it's really tailored to him and not to the CFO. Address his concerns. Explain - clearly and concisely - how what you're offering represents savings for his company. If you just go into how you can grow their business, don't expect a response.

If you keep these five tips in mind when you're crafting emails to CFOs, you'll see your inbox fill up in no time.

 

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